Jeremy Weisz 8:13
Enjoy, you know, as far as networking groups go, everyone, you know, there’s different business models, and you’ve kind of taken a unique approach for the business model of the group as well. So I’d love for you to talk about that. Yeah,
Joe Mindak 8:25
so you know, part of my problem again, with with being in other groups was not so much the program or how they ran or anything, it was just that I was always the guy given the referrals. And at the end of the month, I would get this plaque that said, You gave out the most referrals and they put it in a cheap $2 Michael frame, and I put it on stack with the other ones. I wanted that that business back, and I wasn’t getting the referrals back. So I decided to say, Look, I’ll give you all the business you want Jeremy but you pay me for that I have the people to introduce you to. And you know, the incentive wasn’t there. When I go on to LinkedIn and say, Jeremy, can you introduce me to to Niki Fielding and you’d be like, you know, Joe, I don’t know, we met on a podcast we met at some group a couple months ago, I don’t know you well enough to introduce you to my person. So a lot of times on LinkedIn, I would just not get a response. So I said well, Hey Jeremy, introduce me to Nikki and you can make $10,000 That changes your tune, right? So so I decided to say bring people in and say listen, when you make an introduction that leads to business you will get 50% of whatever that commission comes out to be. Now it’s a now people are looking at it a little different way. Wait a second, I’m gonna make an introduction whatever I make. I want to partner with everybody. I don’t want to say hey, Joe Mindak is going to take all the money no Jeremy, your connection. You know, Niki, you get the introduction for me. I’ve been trying to get into her business for a while. I can’t get a meeting. You get it from me great. You get it from me and we bring in 10 grand you get five I get five who bring in 100 grand, you get 50 I get 50. So, so really the model is don’t worry about if you’re not giving out referrals. I don’t care if you ever give me referral back because when I give you I’m getting paid for it. And that changes the whole dynamic of how you’re networking, right. So it’s really been a really good platform, people are really happy with it, we have people in a group that may not close a piece of business for their company for a whole year, but you know what they made $30,000 and giving out referrals to everyone else in the group. So it’s that two way street that really works well.
Jeremy Weisz 8:49
So there’s a portion that goes to the person and the portion then goes to the group, The Connective?
Joe Mindak 10:26
Exactly, yeah. And then we have people that run the chapters that get a portion as well. Because the way again, we want to grow this organically is to open up in different markets and say, Alright, Jeremy, you’re, you know, you’re in Philadelphia market, you open up, you bring your network to the table, and for that, you’re gonna get paid to do that as well. And we’ll partner up with you. And that’s the way it really makes sure that they’re bringing the right people in or not just bringing people in, you know, again, we want to protect the reputation of the group and the people we bring in. And their job is to bring people in, we’ll build the whole back end, we take care of all the business side of it, you know, invoicing contracts, everything is done on our own with our platform, you just go out, bring in a really good group of people to your platform, or your chapter,
Jeremy Weisz 11:06
I mentioned Nolodex and people could check it out. Nolodex.com: N O L O D E X dot com. And, and, you know, The Connective is powered by Nolodex. And people can also use that as a separate software, but talk about, you know, starting a whole separate software company, is a bigger deal. Right? So talk about what’s powerful, like how it’s powering The Connective.
Joe Mindak 11:31
Yeah, so when, you know, when I started The Connective and you know, when it was the first 20 People Is Easy, but an Excel file, let’s see who Larry introduced. And, you know, that’s one thing when you’re at now we’re up close to 150, under 60 people and by by next year, we’ll be well over 500 people that’s a little harder to keep track. If so, I looked for different software’s method was was the one I looked at first. That’s why our email, our domain is the connected.me. Because that’s what we set it up on originally was method. It worked somewhat, but didn’t have everything we wanted. I found a place up in Canada and others. Anyway, just like most people, like a company tries to find a software that can can run their what they wanted to do. And I just couldn’t find something that did everything. So I said, I’m just going to build it myself. So we built the MVP. Pearce built it for us last year. And it works right it works great. And it keeps track of all the referrals. It calculates the Commission’s automatically sends out the invoices automatically does a lot. But we needed we needed to run a little bit better, right, we’re driving a Honda, right now we need to drive a Ferrari. So we’re building that Ferrari now. And that’s going to power The Connective as we grow. But also, as we’re building it said, You know what, there’s a lot of other networking groups out there that want a software to run their group, right. So our software is very customizable. You can take it and run your BNI group and run it more efficiently with all the calendar invites are in there. Zoom is right on the platform, Slack is right on the platform, all those features, we have a CRM system, all built into one platform. So you could successfully run your networking group through this platform. And we haven’t seen anything out there that’s running everything on one platform, right. So so part of it is hey, if you want to run your networking group, you could use this. The other part is if you want to actually take your networking group now and share commissions like were doing and use the model that we’ve built, you can do that as well. And you could customize it any way you want. If you want to split it at 20. You don’t want to split it 7030 You do the splits everyone. But now a person can come in and say I’ve always wanted to run my own networking group, I just didn’t have I didn’t have the right tools to do it. Great for $100 a month, you could use our software and start your own networking group. And then you could charge $100 a month per member. So if you got 40 members, you could bring in $4,000 a month to your own networking group. Or you’re making 50 something $1,000 A year just running your group, your front and center running the group. So your business is front and center in front of all these people. And then you could also bring in commissions of commissions say $100,000 in commissions come in a group and you’re splitting that you made another 50 grand or you could do it any other way you want. And then the other thing that we do, it’s multi tenancy. So we could have different tenants. So you can be part of this group that you’re running right and Jeremy’s networking group, but also you might be part of the Columbia Alumni Association. So now you could go in your Alumni Association and say, Alright, I want a website or I want it I want whatever service I’m looking for great hire someone that’s a Columbia grad. And then part of that part of that commission goes to the Alumni Association, are part of it goes to your charity, the Boys and Girls Club, whatever you want to use this for. You could use the software to do anything you want. So you can raise money for charities you can do I’m on a board of a hospital like this 35 members that are pretty high up in business on this board. We should all be connecting to each other for what we need. And then a portion or all of it if you want anything that comes in a commission go right to the hospital, right? We’re there to raise money, so why not if I need a website, I’m gonna spend 100 grand on a website I might as well find somebody that’s on on this platform that $10,000 will be donated to the hospital for that. So there’s a ton of different uses for the for the software. So
Jeremy Weisz 15:07
what were the core features, Joe, that you were looking for early on, when you were creating this? Well, one of the main things and find
Joe Mindak 15:17
one of the main things was, you know, the FinTech part of it, right. So, you know, over the years, you know, you know, earlier on 10 years ago, people didn’t want to transfer transfer money across, you know, websites and platforms. Now, that’s gotten a lot more secure and all that. So we couldn’t find a platform that we could actually calculate all the Commission’s write something to track all the referrals and like a CRM system to say, Hey, Jeremy, you gotta lead last month, what’s going on with that? Oh, so this thing automatically sends a note to says, Hey, need to follow up that person. And then if a deal closes it, the system automatically calculates out of all the different members and all of 7% 8%, five and a half percent, it calculates the Commission’s than it actually takes those commissions and splits it to wherever it goes to, right. So if you’re doing a charity, and you’re like, oh, 80% goes to charity, great. It’ll take that $100 Give 80 bucks to charity 2020 bucks to you. It automatically does everything. So we couldn’t find a platform that that with that. Financial tech in the background, I could do that. So one of the main features was that, and then we just really couldn’t find something that did everything, right. We use Google Calendar, which is a horrible system. I don’t know how Google’s calendar so bad, but but we use one calendar system and then right, then you have slack. And then you have to go into zoom or teams are this. It’s like, there’s seven different things you got to do to run this no, come here, go to Noladex, and everything you want is right on that platform, invite people to a meeting, have the meeting right on the platform in zoom, have a Slack channel for anything that people want, you know, have a CRM to track all your referrals, or once you’ve given or received. And then when you close that deal, close it on a platform paid on a platform, collect your money on a platform.
Jeremy Weisz 16:53
So it seemed like initially, the having a CRM and then be able to calculate commissions and pay off commissions was a pain point. And then you realized, well, we’re using these other systems. And now you can create the calendar through there, and then connect the zoom through there into the chat through there.
Joe Mindak 17:10
Yeah. The one the one platform I found that was pretty good out of Canada, it was great. And they’re like, Well, yeah, we can customize it for you, it’s going to be $30,000 to customize it. And then you can pay us a licensing fee of $10,000 a month to use our platform to go out and user and said, Well, I’m not going to pay you 30 grand and another 120 grand to license this thing to use it I want to take 150 grand is build my own platform. Right? So. So yeah, so part of it was that, you know, there was nothing that had everything in it right that we needed. I think that was the biggest probably the biggest part of say, hey, let’s just build, let’s just build this thing, as best we can, with every feature that that somebody would need in a networking group.
Jeremy Weisz 17:52
You know, at the core of the connective is obviously connecting people and having to help each other and make introductions. What have you found? That helps make it easy for people to make introductions? Because I think some people I know, for me, I maybe make five to 30 introductions in a day. Okay. And that’s just top of mind. I’m always trying to do that. Now. It’s not always natural for someone to do those things. So what are some of the maybe mistakes people make when making connections? or what have you found that makes? It helps make it easy for people to connect others together?
Joe Mindak 18:31
Well, you know, not everyone’s a salesperson, right? So to be a really good connector, typically, you’re a pretty good salesperson, you’re a person that’s always talking loving to talk to people, you’re very extroverted, right? I’m not obviously. But, you know, people come in, like, I don’t do that things that way, right. I don’t do things that way, Niki or Niki was like, I don’t run businesses where I’m connect. And now she’s, you know, one of the best members of the group. And she’s learned to do it. So. So we all on the way we try and teach people different ways to, you know, keep their ears open on how he could connect who he could introduce each other to. And sometimes it’s not, that you’re that person out really like you making five to 30 connections today, you don’t really do that. So we help you do that. Right. So we’ll go on to LinkedIn and say, Listen, you know, we have a new member come in and say, Hey, give us give us a list of companies that you’re trying to break into, give us specifically the person you want to talk to that company, and we’ll find the connection for you. Right, so we facilitate a lot of that so we do what’s called a hot list and we’ll say listen, send over 20 companies you want to break into and send over the the CMOS of those companies that you know, and and send it to us and we’ll go through that list and see who in The Connective has a connection to either that person directly or has into their company through somebody else. Right. So Niki actually just introduced Yun, one of our members sent over Alice and he was trying to get the CEOs company. I didn’t know the CEO but Niki knew the head of marketing and very well so she was able to hit up the head of marketing who in should uses to the right person at the company and now young is doing business with that person, right? So. So we try and find ways to connect. We don’t just sit here and say, Hey, come to our meetings, and hopefully you connect with somebody. Like we’re doing some proactive things to make sure that people are getting those introductions done. So even if you’re a very introverted person who don’t like to make connections, I’ll send you a note and say, Hey, Larry, you’re connected to, you know, Joe Smith on LinkedIn. Do you know that person? Well? Yeah, I went to college with Joe, I talked to him once a week. Oh, great. Can you make an introduction? And the one thing we do is warm introductions to somebody that wants to talk to you. So even if you know Joe Smith, I say, Larry, do you know him? Well, yes. Does he does he? Is he looking for a new IT solution? So you’ll reach out to him say, Joe, listen, I got this company wants to talk to you about it. Is that something? Oh, yeah, Laurie, actually, you know, what? Party company sucks. And I’m really looking for a new one, I’d love to talk to that person. That’s when we make the introduction. So we are teaching everyone to not just throw up BS introductions, just because you might know somebody talk to you know, we want to introduce you to somebody that you know, well, that wants to talk to the other person about what they’re selling, right? They don’t want to force any leads, because that never works. Right. So if I’m giving you a warm referral to my college roommate that wants to talk to you about Rise25 specifically, they’re looking to start a podcast, that’s a great referral for you, and the most close rates gonna be a lot higher.
Jeremy Weisz 21:15
Yeah, you kind of answered the next question I was going to ask, which is, what do you recommend from an outreach message? And I do the same thing, which is a double opt in intro. So like, because you don’t want to introduce someone just random. I’ve gotten those you’ve probably gotten them like, Yeah, well, I didn’t even agreed to talk to this person. So I was gonna ask you a recommended outreach, but which is it sounds like Niki would just, you know, say the person, hey, here’s this person, here’s their service. If you’re looking for it, cool, I can introduce you. If you’re not, that’s fine, too. Just let me know like that, you know, just making sure it’s a fit, that you’re not just gonna introduce people without them wanting to be introduced. So it sounds like you’re basically reaching out having the people reach out first and say, Is this even something you’re interested in? If so I can make an introduction of not not Is that
Joe Mindak 22:04
Yeah, exactly. You know, yeah. So you don’t want to, you know, forcing introductions never works, right. Like I had, when I started this, I had someone wants to talk to my buddy, who, CEO of a company and don’t name the company, but like, it was like, hey, I want to talk to him about, you know, it was Call Center Services. And I talked to him, I went to college with him. I said, Jim, hey, I mean, he lived on my floor. We knew each other well, in college that Tim Listen, guy wants to talk about Call Center Service. He’s like, No, you know, what, we use local people, part of our, our strategies to give back to local community, we only use local people for that type of service. Great. And the person was like, Well, can you just make an introduction for me? He said, No, he doesn’t. This is part of their decision. They’ve decided on this, I don’t want to, because I want to call Jim for something else down the road, right, that he may want. And I say, Hey, Jim, you know, listen, somebody wants to talk about SEO as well, Niki, she was talking Oh, you know, we’re looking for an SEO company. That’s when the introduction comes in and makes it a lot better. So we make sure that people you know, you got to have some sort of some sort of need, right? What is Why do you want to talk to that person? What’s your value proposition that that person will want to talk to you? Well, hey, Larry, listen, you know, are you having trouble getting new clients? Are you having? Are you having trouble with your profitability? You know, oh, yeah, Joe, you know what, we can’t figure out which products are selling better, which ones will make the most profit? And I would love to someone to come in and tell me how it could be more profitable. Great. Let me make the introduction. And so we want to make sure everyone has like a little blurb that could send out for you to say, hey, Larry wants to talk to you about this, is that something you’re having, you know, a pain point on and to want someone to solve it for? Right? That’s all sales. So So yeah, we want everyone to have something ready to go. That’s what we’re going to make that introduction for
Jeremy Weisz 23:40
each order other mistakes, people, I was actually just listening to Joe Polish, who runs Genius Network, his book on what’s in it for them, it’s really good about just, I always love learning about what other people are doing to add value to other people. And so it’s a great book. What are other mistakes people make when forming relationships? And one we just talked about, you know, connecting people without approval, not doing a double opt in, right? What are other mistakes you see people making when you know, connecting or making introductions?
Joe Mindak 24:14
Well, you don’t want to be selling at people you want to be selling through people, right? I’m like, Hey, Larry, by my services, by my services by minute, you know, hey, you know, Joe, you listen, push. I want to, this is what I do I sell websites by my website. No, you want to tell those people this is what I do. And this is the value I could bring to your clients, right? Because a lot of time, if you could bring a value to your client, and they come back and thank you. Hey, Larry, thank you so much for introducing me. Chris, you introduced me to this person, they’ve done a great job, I’m really happy. They’re gonna come back to you again and again for other services. Right? And with us, it works great because if they keep coming back to you, you’re getting a commission on each time they come back to you for a resource, right? So so not selling at somebody and just trying to push your services on another member or somebody that’s good Be it, someone that wants to introduce you to somebody else they’re going to sell through, you want to sell through them to say, hey, here’s the tools, you could sell my services to your clients and other people too, right? So a lot of times people just trying to cram a sale down your throat, it’s like, no, I’m here, we’re all here to help each other open doors, not me. I’m not, don’t try and sell me, we’ll use each other for services if we need it. But you know, don’t try and sell at the person you’re talking to, right? We’re all in this group together to open doors, how can I open a door, what’s the best way I can open a door for you give me the tools to make sure I can open that door. And it’s the time to do it.
Jeremy Weisz 25:30
Another one that you just mentioned, that made me think of Joe’s gratitude and thanking people oftentimes, you know, just following up and saying how that go, you know, thank you for referring or, you know, just following up on something is key is so many times I’ll you know, make an introduction, then a few times, we’ll make a you know, thank you. You know, like later on, this is like actually informing me how it went, you know, just giving me an update.
Joe Mindak 26:00
Yeah. You know, it’s the simplest things are sometimes missed by people like in the Thank you. I mean, I’ll send thank you notes out handwritten, and, you know, I mean, nobody gets that these days, right. And that’s a huge thing. Somebody gets it, like, wow, that was really nice to do that. Just having a thank you. It’s good. You know, I had one of my friends, I connected, you know, again, without mentioning names of companies or anything, you know, it was a friend of mine, and it was looking for service, I connected the guy to $75,000 project. And all he said to me was how he lost money on the deal several times. And I said, Listen, you know, I’m bringing you a $75,000 project. I like if you can’t figure out how to make money off it, it’s not a bazillion dollars, but it should be a decent sized project for you. And don’t keep telling me how you lost money. Just having a thank you, I want to, I want to, I don’t care if you lost money, that’s your fault. And your business maybe should get out of the business. But not anymore. Thank you more of like, hey, you know, like the opposite. It was like a hindrance that I gave him late. And so you know, you’re, that person will never get another phone call from me again, ever, you know,
Jeremy Weisz 27:07
versus trying to encourage referrals and complaining about referral is gonna induce the opposite activity from Yeah,
Joe Mindak 27:15
but, uh, thank you to somebody, I just, you know, I have, I have something I’m trying to get done with the, with the play that I wrote. And, you know, I met the guy recently, a couple of months ago, and he’s got the introduction to connect with somebody, I, you know, I thanked him for his time a few times, and said, I really, I just, I just really appreciate you. So I’m gonna like you having a connection to have to take time to speak to somebody like me, I really appreciate that. And, you know, you’re, you know, how I look up to him and his career and what he’s done. It’s very impressive. And just the fact that you’re taking time to help someone like me out, I’m really, I really appreciate that. And, you know, I think that goes a long way, right? Somebody sticking their neck out for you, you want to you want to thank them for it. So
Jeremy Weisz 27:54
I want to take, you know, all of your your career path has kind of led you to what you’re doing now. And you’ve had a really interesting career path with, like we mentioned the brewery, the magazine, the agency, so I wanted with Teesha creative. I always love talking to agency owners who start in the mid 90s, because the landscape was so different than it is now. Talking about like what was when you were begin the idea behind starting the agency, and then you eventually sold it. So I’d love to hear about
Joe Mindak 28:27
how that came about. Yeah, so I just you know, I got out of college, I went to school University date now in Ohio, and I came back flyers, the flyers, right? Yeah. So I was, you know, I was a, I was originally business major, and I switched to education, because I wanted to teach and then by the time I got out, I was like, I had a pretty good resume with all the stuff I had done in college. I’m like, I should make some money. First, I don’t go back to teaching which, which I eventually did. Last year, I started teaching. But, but I got home and I was gonna be a sales guy, right? Obviously, I was either gonna be a sales guy or a politician, right. So I became a sales guy. But I couldn’t get a job. Right? I was coming back to the city, you know, going to Manhattan and interviewing and nobody would hire me without a year experience. So at the time, my dad had a small printing company that was Tish industries, right? My mom’s name is Tisha, that’s where the name comes from. And so my dad had a small print shop, it was just it was my dad, right? My uncle worked for him for a couple years, but basically was my dad and he was like, the best sales guy ever. Like he could sell anybody anything. And, and he did great with that, then he would actually do the printing himself. But at that point in the 90s, you know, Kinkos came out computers were coming out personal printers at home, like people, people go to Kinko’s and print 1000 letterheads for 20 bucks instead of going to a printer. So my dad wasn’t doing as well, he wasn’t going up, that’s for sure that hockey stick was turned the other way. And so I said that Listen, why don’t I why I can’t get a job. I’m living at home. You know, give me 20 bucks a week so I could go out buy some beers and and, you know, I’ll go sell for you and get my experience. So that’s what I did. So I sold for a year and Got it under my belt. And then after a year, I was like, Well, you know what, that is why we’re gonna go out and I’m gonna go get a job with Jeremy and sell for him and make 7% commission when I could just do it myself. So that’s how I got involved. So we took out a small loan for $50,000 to buy a big, you know, buy bigger machinery and grow this thing isn’t that we got to grow, we can’t be printing, business cards and letterheads. We got to print brochures and all that. So. So we did that. And we went from a $250,000 print shop to a $3 million agency in the course of about three, four years. So that’s really how it started. And it was just, you know, really selling and I was figuring out how to put how to how to do what we were selling, right. So
Jeremy Weisz 30:41
how were you selling at the time show? Were you calling people were you knocking on doors? What were you know, because we’re talking like 99, like, people aren’t really using email at this point. So what I was using
Joe Mindak 30:56
I was using, and I just taught my kids that I teach my entrepreneurship class at Stevens this, I said, Do you know how LinkedIn started? Right? And I don’t know, this is necessarily how it started. But we used to have a book that was all the people from University of Dayton, you would buy the alumni directory, right? And had told you who was in marketing who was in this and you would go through that book, and look up people like, oh, Jeremy, I went to school with him. He’s in marketing now. Hey, Jeremy, it’s joven Dak. We went to school together, do you do you know, so a lot of it was finding those you know, instead of cold calling, which, which works to a certain extent, but that point of still working, but I was cold calling but more more warm calling. I’m very proud to say, Jerry, you went to UD to Yeah, you remember you were 96? I was 95. Yeah. Oh, yeah, I remember. Yeah. And then so you’re making those connections and introductions so that that’s how I was trying to get into people and really get out and outsmart I joined a BNI group I joined, I would go to any meeting I couldn’t get to. So it was just really selling into those places. Then once you meet a couple clients, they introduce you then it was referrals. You know, then I was like, Oh, wow, this referral thing is great. So that’s how I started really becoming a connector. So yeah, so we grew the agency to a nice size and, and you know, as things grew, write emails came out, the web websites got bigger, oh, we better start doing websites, oh, well, we’ve got to start doing email all week. And I would just hire people that knew what the hell they were doing in those aspects. And then I would go out and sell whatever was new, right? I was just telling Niki that I, I didn’t know what SEO was somebody’s like, do you guys do SEO? It’s like, Of course we do. That’s one of the services, we offer up the phone and call my creative director like Kevin, do we do SEO? He goes, Yeah, go What does that search engine optimization? This was like 2008, or something like that. And SEO was just getting popular. So yeah, we just kind of grew with the times and sold what what, whatever just added the right people to, you know, I would always hire really good people that knew what they were doing right? Then it was easy for me to sell that.
Jeremy Weisz 32:48
I love how you, you stuck in your superpower and sweet spot, right? It’s like you’re selling you’re you’re going to try and figure out how to do it, you’re just going to hire the, you know, the pros that knew it and just stuck in what you do best in
Joe Mindak 33:04
the field. Because if I got the right people to do a good job, and I just I couldn’t get I couldn’t get to the person. I knew how to do that. I knew how to get in the door and say, Listen, Jeremy, were the best in SEO right now. Oh, you are? Yeah, let me introduce to this person. And I told my wife Reese, listen, do you know what the best person at my agency was? The salesperson? Because yeah, you were gonna know. Simon was Simon was my developer, right? So I would bring in people that needed a website, really high end, sophisticated website. I could get them in the door, do my little song and dance. And but Oh, come on, then I want to get to the office. And they met Kevin, the creative director. Okay, got that. Then they start talking to Simon about the technical aspects of what they need to build. They would be like, is that guy gonna be on my project? I’m like, yeah, he’s the head developer. Okay, we’re hiring you guys now. So they wanted to they wanted to smart person, right? As a sales guy, right? They wanted to talk to somebody and make sure that, you know, they knew they were gonna get what they were looking for, I need this thing to be built. I could do this, this, this and that. And that guy is going to build it. So that you know, having the right people and the people that could you know, make me look good. Once I sold the thing was great, then it was easy to do that. So
Jeremy Weisz 34:06
yeah, Joe, I want to hear about how the sale came about. And I love hearing about the evolution of the services, right, because it started off with, you know, business cars, printing brochures, then kind of went to websites, and then the e mail and SEO and as a new thing came up. You were you were kind of adding these suite of services on how did it eventually the sale come about?
Joe Mindak 34:30
So back in 2007 I was I bought my partner’s out and I was like, I’m going to sell the agency we’re at our height, you know, we’re doing about $3 million. And honestly, I could sell this for a decent amount came down to two agencies I had I had a buyer and the buyer chose the other agency. The other agency had a lot more health care experience than we did. So that’s why we lost out he liked us. You know they were neck and neck and and just that was the that was the the line In the sandwich, which one it will go with. So this guy was named was Daz and he went with the other agency. About five, six years later, he called me said, hey, you know, what are you doing? Joe said, not that how you doing? Good? Yeah. Remember you all that stuff? Is No the other agency went went went south, it folded. So he’s like, I should have bought you guys because we were still going the other agency folded. But he became a business broker. He’s like, I always sell businesses now. So no, that’s interesting. He says, Do you want to sell your business? And I was like, I don’t, I don’t know that I have anything to sell that as I said, we’re, you know, we’re doing and this was now probably 2009 2010, after the whole economy took a tank and marketing was down. So art sales were down and all that, but we’d started the magazine and, and I said, Now this was probably well, I’m sorry, more like 2000, probably 12, I think 12 or 14. So I said, Listen, you know, we’re doing okay, we’re doing as good as we once were when you went to buy us. But now take a look, I don’t know, I’d be interested to see. So, you know, you’re running your agency and not really paying attention to the finances, you know, in depth, you know, because we’re, you know, we’re spending money on different things, and you know, you’re running things through the business, whatever. So he comes in and pulls all the numbers out and like, wow, you know, if you really pull out this, this and that, we have something to sell. So is it alright, you know, put it up on the market. So we, we put it up as as a joint purchase, you get the magazine and the agency because the agency was that magazine was actually driving traffic to the to the agency because we made this beautiful magazine, really high, high end magazine because all the people in Hoboken were marketing professionals or young professionals working in companies or starting companies. So they would get our magazine and call us for our creative services. So if so anyway, the magazine drove traffic to the to the thing so so we want to put them both up and all sudden we’re getting you know, we’re getting people interested and you know, on both or joint whatever. And then I wound up selling them separately. You actually had a digital marketing agency in Hoboken a guy knew. And he had bought the agency and then actually my publisher, my original publisher in a magazine, Chris Halloran, just happen to text me says, hey, look, I lost my my publishing gig in the city, the magazine, do you have any work for me? And I said, Actually, I have had might have something interesting for you. So he came in, I met with him and had a beer and I said, Listen, we’re selling the magazine, nobody knows that. If you’re interested, I’ll let you know what you know what we’re selling it for. And if you could, you know, I made a sweeter deal with him because he really loved the magazine. So I was able to sell it to somebody that that I really, you know, trusted and knew they were going to take care of because that was our baby, you know, we really started that thing from scratch. And so Chris ran it for last five, six years. He only shut it down because of the pandemic and it was all local advertising and just, you know, can’t charge people to advertise their businesses shut down. So, but he did a good job. He ran it. Like I said, five or six years for FY sold it so yeah, so it came out.
Jeremy Weisz 37:58
Interesting journey. Yeah. I want to talk about future generations. So you are adjunct instructor and you teach, you know, entrepreneurship, innovation? What are some of the things you’re teaching now? And what are some what’s the questions you’re getting from the students?
Joe Mindak 38:17
But I think a lot of it is just this confidence level of like, how do you do that? How do I start How do I even start a business? Like they just like, they’re like, I have an idea, but I don’t know where whoever begin and you got to understand it. It starts somewhere small. Right? You don’t have to start big right? So I just saw two things I showed him one was the the the magazine I said, Do you guys know how I started as magazines like No, and I show in the magazine that like this is beautiful magazine. It must have cost a million dollars to start it. I said guys, it cost me three grand $3,000 I started the magazine with that’s all that’s all the money ever put into it. Right? The other way. The the way I started it was I needed $12,000 To print the first issue. So I said you know what I did? I went to every store on Washington Street and Hoboken and everywhere in town and printed out the $3,000 we printed some marketing kits in this and I went and knocked on every door and bang done every every store and said do you want to buy an Agnes magazine that I’m going to produce? And I sold $12,000 worth of advertising. I took that money and paid for the first print run of the magazine. So I said so. So that’s just tenacity and getting out there and doing it. You have something you have gone sell it go out and do it. And I said the other thing that came from that was and I just showed them recently in class, we did a music festival. So the first music festivals, one guy for the acoustic guitar with a little banner on a one foot stage. I said Look at how cool this music festival is right? I showed him the video. They’re like yeah, whatever. And then I showed him the festival three years later with a big stage on pra 10 bands, you know, beer garden, you know, 5000 people there. I said you know something start small right? This thing was $2,500 budget that we had sold for sponsorships that paid you know re 200 bucks to play that day. 100 all about but then it came into $100,000 Music Festival we paid the band $35,000 to play. So you know, we got to start somewhere start small, you don’t need to start, you know, huge you got to start and get get it out there and then work hard, right? I mean, like anything, we were harder than everyone else you’re gonna be successful. Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 40:14
I love it. I’m curious, are there any good ideas have come out of the class. So start small. And really what you did was you pre sold it. So your risk was low. I mean, you put some time and you put a little bit of money in, but you weren’t going to go out and create, like 100,000, print 100,000 magazines, before you sold it. Right? And so you really pre sold it. So you minimize risk to some people. So that’s what they do. They go out and they just go all in and they haven’t sold anything yet. from it. Yeah. Now, you got a proof of concept first. Yeah.
Joe Mindak 40:48
And every, every every company I started, you know, I started small, you know, even a connective. I didn’t put a lot of money into this, you know, at that time, I could, but I didn’t write it put about $5,000 to start what you see today, right, which is a nice sized company, you don’t need to put a ton of dough in it, you need to be smart about how are you going to do it. Right? I have, I have a friend that just put you know, over a million dollars into his first business to, you know, get in all this debt, you know, you got to start selling honey kettle, so a lot of cheeseburgers to pay the rent, and he has, you know, but I’m saying but like, you put yourself in that debt to start now you gotta pay all that money back. So it’s gonna take you five years before you start making money because you just, you know, you don’t want to go into something, it’s gonna cost you a lot. So always try and start small and, and you know, you’ll see if it works first, right? We built up this MVP. Let’s see if it works. Let’s see if we get traction. And we did and now Okay, now let’s continue on and go to the next phase. Well, the reason we’re raising money now for for, for the company, but because we’ve proven the concept that Okay, now we’re just raising money to accelerate growth, you know, so
Jeremy Weisz 41:52
it’s easier to raise money when you have revenue, right? Yeah, exactly.
Joe Mindak 41:56
Right than an idea.
Jeremy Weisz 41:57
Joe, first of all, I just want to be the first one to thank you, everyone should check out TheConnective.me and check out Nolodex.com To learn more, and check out more episodes of InspiredInsider.com And Joe, thanks for sharing your stories and your knowledge with everyone. Appreciate it.
Joe Mindak 42:14
Jeremy, thanks so much for having me. This is great. Really appreciate it.